My sanctuary

One of the podcasts I listened to at the weekend was talking about the creation of craft room, this one was outside and was named Shedquarters and you can find the details of this at this post.

The owner, Portia was talking about sewing as a way of rediscovering herself after having a baby and of the importance of time to sew for her own sanity. Like many people I can really relate to this as sewing, embroidery, knitting and all forms of textile crafts are really important in my life as a way of finding balance.

I sewed and knitted as a teenager and during my college years and when I had young children, loved doing cross stitch then and made lots of clothes for Barbie! Then I went back to studying for my Master’s degree and for a few years did very little in the way of creative things.

When I started again I gradually bought more and more equipment that ended up being stored all over the house in various drawers until I moved here and was lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated craft room. I have posted some pictures previously but not for ages so thought I would show you all my ultimate happy place in my little house.

Craft room 3

This is storage for all my patterns and magazines as well as some practical bits like tools, pins and lace. I have had that stack of rainbow fabric on top of the bookcase for about 4 years and pretty though it is am going to have to use it up before it starts fading along the fold lines!The cake stand on the left holds cross stitched ornaments from when I used to do lots of exchanges and some pincushions.

Craft room 4

Moving along to the ironing station on top of the cabinet storing all of my larger pieces of fabric, lots of this is material bought for re-enactment, some of which I really may never use!

Craft room 5

The important bit, my machine, a Pfaff quilting machine that I bought 2 years ago with a specially large additional extra support to enable me to do machine quilting that I have never used! One of my targets for this summer is to get that thing on the machine and actually use it! Area complete with very important cup of tea without which no project can be completed.

Craft room 6

My colour coded small fabric storage, this houses quilting fabric and the units next to it all have pull out fabric boxes full of specific fabric types such as silks, Christmas fabrics, linings and interfacing and wool. The top of these units are my cutting area and work in progress area plus storage for scissors, pens, glue etc. Also handy I Pad for checking tutorials and listening to Podcasts!

Craft room 9

The work in progress area, this is usually a bit of a jumble, at the moment we have some stitching, some churn dash blocks and the materials for a headress plus lovely Liberty fabric. At the back is English Paper Piecing Storage and a box to store completed but not yet allocated shapes.

Craft room 2

These drawers are for embroidery silks, buttons and charms storage with the plastic boxes containing Christmas ribbons, more interfacing, polystyrene shapes for ornaments and sewing patterns.On the left are my collection of Steampunk hats!

Craft room 7

I use the pin boards for storing blocks that need to be made into something and my lovely lace zips.

I have been here nearly 6 years now so it has been very much a work in progress, starting with furniture I already had and replacing it bit by bit. Like Portia and her shed most of my storage comes from Ikea with a few charity shop bargains and storage solutions from a local DIY store.

I love being here, even if I can’t spend much time here in a week I will just pop in, say hello and reassure the room I will be back as soon as I can :-). From a practical point of view it is great to leave projects out knowing that I can safely return to them as they are without having to pack them away and risk losing bits or forgetting about them.

It is just fab, possibly my favourite room in the house, though I do love the rest of it as well.

What about you, where do you go to craft, where is your special space?

I am busy this week with a headress for a friend so lots of hand sewing through buckram which is quite a challenge as it is so stiff. It is coming along well though so despite sore fingers I am enjoying the creation, it is a long time since I have made anything like this.

Have a good weekend ahead.Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Fashion not on the ration

Ellie and I share an interest in lots of periods of history, not just medieval and we are particularly interested in WW1 and WW2, from lots of different aspects.

One of the birthday presents I bought her recently was the book Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers which I intend to borrow from her once she has read it! We both love making and re-purposing garments and the ‘make do and mend’ that people did during WW2 is really fascinating.

A few weeks ago she invited me to take part in a WW1 event at Clumber which is happening next weekend called, ‘Bonnets to Breeches’, celebrating the work of the WW1 Land Army Girls.

I did a bit of research on the uniform as had only come across WW2 outfits before. This site was very helpful so I took my main inspiration from here and went charity shop searching. I was lucky to find most of what I wanted in one shop in town and then a nice hat and shoes in our local charity shop.

WW1-Womens-Land-Army-Recruitment-Poster-Art.IWM-PST-5489-c.1918

 

ww1_landswoman_cover

I also found some great images with a Google image search including this one of the armband that they wore.

WW1 Land girls 7 badge

I made my own version last night.It is a darker green than it looks in this picture.

WW1 Land girls 6

Today I have been working on other aspects of the costume. I bought some men’s wool trousers to adapt for the breeches.

WW1 Land girls 1

I cut the legs down to just below knee height then made a casing for elastic.

WW1 Land girls 2

WW1 Land girls 3

Here they are with and without the lovely knee high socks and my charity shop shoes.

WW1 Land girls 4

WW1 Land girls 5

I have been listening to podcasts as I have been sewing, I wrote about the Love to Sew podcast last week and today I have been listening to some more, including a very apt one all about refashioning garments.

There is a yearly challenge run by Portia from Makery blog  which involves doing this with a specific type of garment and I was very interested to hear her talk about all the ideas behind it.

I love making things from old finds but have not really considered using them to refashion clothes for me, apart from the Steampunk jacket in progress made from tablecloths, but I will definitely follow up this as an area for future makes. I would like to try some sewing of things for me to wear.

I have had a very productive weekend apart from this as well, more churn dashes as have become a little bit obsessed with them but am making some different ones, not just Liberty ones.

It is back to marking assignments tomorrow but I am hoping to get an early finish and sneak in a couple of hours in the craft room. Hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and thanks as always for visiting.

A little more quilty maths

I have spent a lovely afternoon experimenting in the craft room. I did say I was maybe going to make another Churn Dash block and I decided to do just that but with a bit of a difference.

I had a serendipitous moment earlier on in the week where I realised what I could do with some stitching that I had done a while back, (just checked back on the blog and it was Nov 2015!),designs by the lovely Jenny of Elefantz. I had ‘filed’ them meaning to quilt them into a hanging for my craft room but they were on the side next to a Churn Dash black waiting to be fettled when I suddenly thought I could combine the two.

I am working on an outfit for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln in August and am making a jacket out of vintage embroidered tablecloths. I wanted a bag to go with it but wanted it to be sewing themed so thought that this motif would make an excellent design for the bag front , so very true for all us seamstresses despite the occasional stress when your bobbin thread runs out or the machine jams!

-elefantz-stitching-saves my mind

I have been using this tutorial from Crazy Mom to make a 4 and a half inch block but the centre was only 2 3/4 inch square and I needed it to be 4 inches to fit the stitching in. I did a quick search for bigger patterns but decided it was quicker to make my own so I cut it out of paper to check the dimensions.

Churn dash resizing 1

You possibly can read my scribbles but if not the measurements are –

Centre block – 4 inch square

Corner blocks – 2 1/2 inch square – two of these from background fabric and two from contrast to make the HSTs. Trim down to 2 1/4 inches once sewn

Scrappy strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

Background strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

The rest of the assembly is as Crazy Mom outlines. I have managed to get most of it done but had to stop to make tea so will finish next weekend.

Churn dash resizing 2

I may use the other two motifs below in the bag as well. I intend to add embellishments such as charms, a couple of old lace bobbins and some small wooden spools and decorate my purple top hat in a similar fashion to complete the outfit.

elefantz-stitching-make do and mend

elefantz-stitching-sewing machine

While sewing I was listening to a podcast from Love to Sew. I have been meaning to start using podcasts as well as music while sewing and this is a lovely one by two women from Canada who are a pattern designer and a fabric shop owner.

A very productive day and I am enjoying catching the last of the sunshine sitting by the open back door as I type. Back to work tomorrow, someone has got to fund the fabric stash but on Lottery this week I won a Lucky Dip for Weds so fingers crossed. If I do win the first thing I will by is a full set of rainbow colours of Liberty 🙂

Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.

 

More of the same but different

I am having a very good Bank Holiday weekend, it is a bit like the very best version of a Groundhog Day. The weather has been so beautiful here, glorious sunshine three days in a row in Yorkshire! This is a minor miracle so people have been going a bit giddy and there are folk out in summer clothes and a fair few cases of sunburn.

We have had two BBQs already, we are making the most of it as we didn’t manage to have even one at home last year. In fact our old BBQ had rusted so badly it was no longer safe to cook on so we have not replaced it and are using one of our little portable camping ones instead which cooks really well.The chairs are showing signs of wear as well so if we do get a decent summer it may be time for new ones 🙂

May BBQ1

Jake and I spent a few hours getting rid of all the dead plants in our pots that have not survived the five months of snow and I bought a few replacements locally but need many more. It was so beautiful outside with the hills looking beautiful in the evening sun. It makes such a difference to have good weather.

May BBQ2

I have been busy in the craft room as well, making more pouches with the Liberty. I have made another Churn Dash block and used the new Liberty hexagon print as well. I make sure that every bag or pouch is different in some way so that they are all truly unique and love playing around with different fabrics.The larger pouch has an ordinary zip and is made with this tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl  and the lace zip one is from a tutorial at Emkie Designs.

May pouches 1

These are made using recyled denim for the main body as well as I like to reuse where I can. That offsets the fact that I may just have bought a little more Liberty this week. Well it is so pretty I just couldn’t resist.

cat-sewing

I really like the way that the hexagon print works in this bag and am very glad I bought it, I first saw it last year so have been really restrained only getting it now 🙂

As well as being unique my creations are sometimes imperfect, I didn’t notice until I had completed the block that there was a bit of a mismatch on one of the corners of the block but by that stage it would have been really difficult to alter it. Hopefully the pretty fabric will distract the recipient of this gift  from noticing.

Someone once told me that Islamic carpet makers always weave an imperfection into their work as only God is perfect. I don’t know if this is true but I think it is a nice way to think about those little imperfections that are part of hand made things.

I am looking forward to the rest of my last day of the three with more of the same crafting, may make another Churn Dash block this afternoon or may experiment with something else. I am also going to have more washing drying outside, my 5th load this weekend! That may not sound exciting to some people but it is a bit of a miracle here.

Then we will round it off with more BBQing. We have to make the most of it as the forecast is rain and low temperatures for the end of the week but Jake has set us a target of having 20 at home BBQs this summer. We shall see how plan works out!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend as well and have a great week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Seville – The Real Alcazar

By that I don’t mean as opposed to the Hotel Alcazar where we stayed, I mean the Royal Alcazar, as that is what it means in Spanish. This was an eagerly awaited visit, I went to Granada 15 years ago and saw the Alhambra and this was just as beautiful.

It was also used as a location for Game of Thrones as the kingdom of Dorne and when I saw those episodes I put this on my wish list to visit.They used some of the gardens and interior rooms.

Seville Alcazar gardens 1

Seville Alcazar gardens 2

Seville Alcazar gardens 3

It is amazingly beautiful, the Moorish place at the centre being surrounded by a later period palace and gardens and there was just so much amazing pattern everywhere.This ceiling in one of the state rooms was incredible.

Seville Alcazar ceiling

Lots of inspiration for the book of designs I am going to do one day!

Seville Alcazar patterns 1

Seville Alcazar patterns 2

Seville Alcazar patterns 3

Mum had been looking for a new travel shoulder bag as the one she bought in Florence was getting old so she decided on this lovely print from one of the gift shops. The following day when we visited the Alcazar we could see the original tiling!

Seville Alcazar Mum and bag

The work that went into this is just incredible , everywhere you turned there was more beauty.

I am pleased that I managed to get so many photos without people in as it was very busy as is to be expected in the height of the tourist season.

Top tip if you are going to visit, book in advance online, or as we did get there very early. Pre-booked tickets get let in first, we did not organise that before we got there so went very early, we got there at 9.10 and were let in at 9.50 so not too much of a wait but by that time the queues behind us were really long.

A truly amazing place, one of my favourite visits, I so love Islamic art and decoration.

I am looking forward to a very good weekend, it is a Bank Holiday here so three whole days in the craft room working on Liberty churn dash blocks and pouches! Plus a bit of clearing out the pots and hanging baskets if the weather is good. Everything has died over our very long winter so I need to but lots of new plants.

I hope that you are all going to have a nice weekend as well, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A significant amount of crafting

After the comparative wilderness of the last few months where it seemed that all I posted about was how little I had done I seem to have completed a huge amount in the last two weeks.

I have shared the scrappy churn dash blocks with you briefly in a previous post but wanted to share all of the photos here and give you the link to the tutorial on Crazy Mom’s blog.

This is the first one I made which I turned into a bag.

Churn dash bag 1

I have not had much success with many of the bigger quilt blocks I have done as often the points don’t match but am doing ok on these with  few minor errors. Really love the colours and how quick and easy they are to do given their tiny size and complexity.

Scrappy churn dash 1

I am adding the hexagons to the middle of the blocks as they seemed a bit bare without them.

I have just had a delivery of some new Liberty from Billow Fabrics as I was short of longer pieces and found this beautiful print of hexagons.

Liberty hexagon fabric 1

I am planning to make some bags with a hexagon flower on linen and this on the bottom. Sarah has had her stall confirmed for Yarndale so I will be making things for that again.

Liberty hexagon fabric 2

I have also got this lovely bundle of fabric.

I have just finished a pouch made from some stitching I did in Spain, those long coach journeys came in handy for completing this beautiful design from Jenny of Elefantz. This is from her November 2017 Stitchery Club and I have used Cottage Garden Variegated threads. This one is for me to store all my chargers in when I go away.

Bird and hexagon pouch 1

The Cottage Garden threads are difficult to get in the UK and I am running out so I have bought some Caron Waterlillies from Sew and Sew to stitch this design again. It is so pretty and the thread colours are beautiful.

Caron Waterlilies 1

Caron Waterlilies 2

I am going to be spending a very happy day tomorrow working on all of these projects with some watching of the brilliant , ‘Under the Dome’, based on a Stephen King novel, a very exciting series on my Amazon Prime. The best sort of weekends!

Hope that you are having fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Seville – a very Spanish city

That may sound like a strange title for a blog post because of course it is in Spain but when we were wandering around Seville it felt very different to the other cities we have visited in Spain. Many of them have amazing architecture but it is often Art Deco or Modernista and while stunning is very similar to other things we have seen in places like Budapest.

Seville has a very unique character and it felt very much like old Spain, real Spain, the Spain that the Moors had a huge influence on. An amazing culture that had a very significant impact on the rest of the world. A friend messaged me when I said I was going and told me it was the most beautiful city in the world. That is a difficult one to judge having been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful cities in Europe and I don’t know if this is more beautiful than Venice, Florence, Prague, Paris, or any other of the places I have been.

It is certainly different and stunningly beautiful as these pictures show.I loved the fact that there were still the very narrow lanes everywhere with no cars and the possibility of getting lost.We decided on the last night to take a different route back to the hotel down some of these winding little lanes, past crowded bars where lots of people were sitting outside, not really knowing where we were until we turned a corner and realised we were only a short walk from our hotel.

A really lovely place and and a city and a region that I would love to return to one day.I still have so many more pictures of the things we saw, I went a little snap happy in the palace and took so many pictures so will have to just choose the best ones for you.

My teaching has generally finished now so I have had a very nice week with my students doing tutorials, most of whom I won’t teach again now but will see at their graduations. I am very lucky, I have a job that I love, despite it being sometimes a bit stressful, I get to go on brilliant holidays and have the prospect of 2 and a half days crafting coming up as I am planning to finish work early tomorrow 🙂 Life is very lovely.

I hope that you are equally happy with your week, take care and thanks for visiting.